Asheville is the kind of place where a guy can confidently step out on the streets wearing a loincloth, army boots and a live ferret on his head. Weirdness is a cottage industry here. The sophisticated and tolerant folks of Asheville celebrate eccentricity and diversity. Well, maybe not so much.
[On a] Friday afternoon, I made a rare trip into town to take in some of the studios in the River Arts district and to visit the downtown galleries. As I usually do, I put on my boots and bib overalls (Pointer brand overalls, proudly manufactured in Bristol, Va.). With my long hair and beard, [I may not be] a pretty sight, but it is what I look like – and this is, after all, Asheville.
Barely a minute after I got off of my bike in the River Arts district, a gentleman yells from a passing vehicle "Farmer Brown! Have you lost your pig?" Granted, dressed as I was, pig farming was a reasonable guess as to my occupation, but this certainly did not merit a public announcement. For the record, my last name is Greene, and I have not been involved in pig farming for 40 years or so.
Leaving the River Arts District, I made my way uptown. Just outside the Blue Spiral [Gallery], a young lady about 20 [years old] took a quick look at me, whipped around to her friend and loudly exclaimed, "Oh. My. God (unintelligible) turnip truck." I got the gist.
My final encounter, just outside of Gallery Minerva, was the most "in your face." I say this because the guy was literally in my face. While I talked on the phone to my wife, a gentleman in his mid 20s stopped in front of me, looked me in the eye and said, "You need to go back to Waynesville or wherever you came from."
"What was that all about?" my wife asked. I did not have an answer.
Did I just happen to meet three unusually rude people, or have I badly misinterpreted the Asheville dress code?
— David Greene